The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #243

Not many readers guessed this week, but a high percentage of them guessed right.

Which coast could it be? A reader points to the Indian subcontinent:

It just has a look of somewhere exotic like Sri Lanka or India, so I go with Goa! (I live in Manhattan and thought the previous contest was Mars through a window of the Rover, so I need a few more of these under my belt before I get my eye in.)

Another reader picks the Jewel Grande Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica, while another goes with a hotel across town: “the view from the rooftop dining terrace of the Richmond Hill Inn.” Another guess: “The 2nd floor of Hotel Metropole, Avalon, Catalina Island, CA.” (I posted that entry just so I could link to the Catalina Wine Mixer.) Other guesses this week include the west side of Oahu and the west coast of Turkey. This reader inches closer:

The foliage, and the light-given impression to be looking southwards, limited my searches to the northern Mediterranean coast. The architecture and the proximity of swimming pools to the sea made me think French rather than Italian Riviera, so I’ll guess Alpes-Maritimes. I spent more than a few hours digitally trailing the Mediterranean coastline in search of an exact location, but to no avail.

What still leaves me doubting is the green fencing with a red-white sign on it that looks like a distinctly American warning sign. Perhaps we are actually looking out over the Pacific from (somewhere near) Santa Barbara, CA? What an excellent source of procrastination. 

Another procrastinator gets closer with Africa:

The view is one of a tropical coastal town, with a jagged rocky coastline, and a dry, arid atmosphere. The railings look very faux colonial, meaning there’s a lot of recent investment (and the relative stability to encourage this investment). To me it looks like Dakar, Senegal, where I’ve traveled in the past. There’s a lot of Russian and Chinese money there, along with a lot of European expats and the best Lebanese food you’ll ever find.

Heading a little north, off the coast of Morocco, a first-time guesser gets the exact location right: the Gran Tacande hotel in the town of Costa Adeje — located on the largest island in the Canaries called Santa Cruz de Tenerife, which is part of Spain. He found the island using his professional eye:

I never discovered the original Dish, and so this is my first ever VFYW entry. But I played GeoGuessr (or something like that) back in the day. I solved this contest in under an hour. Since I hear proximity matters, the exact location appears to be: 28.0913462  -16.7401033

I’ve never been to this place, or even the Canary Islands. But I’m an Oceanographer, so I have been to many islands around the world. What stood out to me here is that the point with the pools is clearly built on an old lava flow. I originally thought Hawaii, but I don’t think that pool setup could ever be permitted there. Next I thought the French Island of la Reunion, or Mauritius, both in the Indian Ocean (both places I have been to), but the landscape and level of modern development didn’t seem quite right. I got lucky and looked at the Canaries next, because it just seemed like a reasonable guess. I literally walked around the satellite view of the island looking for that distinctive “pools on a point” setup with the marina in the distance, and within about 10 minutes, there it was.

A previous winner of the contest (#226) sends a stunning satellite view:

Another reader got on the right track by looking at trees:

The architecture and palm trees were too generic to be helpful, but there is a small Italian cypress tree visible just in front of the balcony. This was a clue to narrow my search to the Mediterranean (which isn’t actually where the window is located). A search for Mediterranean resorts led to a stock image of a balcony with similar architecture as Tenerife, after which I was able to find the location of the pool on the peninsula in Costa Adeje. But which building? Google Street View showed one-story houses near the road, and the closest landmark with a website is the Gran Tacande resort. After some triangulation with roof structures and pools, I was able to determine the location of the building, and Google Street View confirmed that the balcony matches:

Nearly the right room. The winners of #207 are back again — and better than ever:

It’s so great to see the return of the VFYW contest! My wife and I have many fond memories of spending couple-time working to locate the site of each week’s mystery window. Our son was a toddler when we played before — now as a nine-year-old, he has joined our team.

Our guess: Costa Adeje. As is customary, we began by looking for clues in the topography and architecture, but nothing immediately allowed us to narrow it down beyond being a tropical or subtropical location near the sea, perhaps with a Mediterranean flavor. My wife, however, has an astonishing talent for extracting crazy clues from these photographs, and she homed in on the palm trees in the distance, which she considered distinctive. (We are from a northern clime, so I have no explanation for her sensitivity to the finer details of palm trees). Following a bit of online botanical research, she determined that the particular species of palm trees is phoenix canariensis, which are also known as the Canary Islands Date Palm — and native to those islands:

The family team concluded their entry by highlighting the right balcony. Likewise with a reader who sent the following image (but he has won many contests already, so no prize for him):

That’s Room 733. Only one reader guessed Room 733 who hasn’t won the contest already. That reader clinched victory this week with the following screenshot, discovered when he flipped through all of the user-submitted photos of the Gran Tacande hotel on TripAdvisor (and, as a previous winner informs us, “There are 2047 photos on TripAdvisor’s page of the hotel, and this was among the last ones. Ouch!”):

Our winner, as usual, gets to pick the prize: the View From Your Window book or two gift subscriptions to the Dish.

Chini the Grand Champion (who of course got Gran Tacande right) adds wistfully, “For those of us in the States, this view is the closest we’ll come to a foreign vacation for a while.” Until international travel picks up again, there’s always the Window Contest.

There’s also WindowSwap, a cool little site flagged by this reader:

I saw it the other day and immediately thought of the contest and figured other Dishheads might enjoy it. WindowSwap is not, as I first suspected, live cams outside of people’s windows, but actually 10-minute clips that are submitted (which is why weather doesn’t match — and why so many of them have cats). I spent some time on it the other day and it was fun to just take a brief, random tour of the world.

For the next stop on our Window Contest tour, head over to the latest edition of The Weekly Dish and submit your entry to contest@andrewsullivan.com.


P.S. A reader from last week is still scratching his head:

I don’t have a clue about the contests. Never did. But I do think you owe it to the readership to provide more information about that photograph of you with the bison and the four ladies. It’s quite a photo.

It was quite a moment, and a few seconds after that photo was taken, this one was:

It may look like I know what I’m doing, but the bison, named Clyde, was definitely leading me, not the other way around. (No one was hurt at all; it was a very gentle charge.) Clyde lives on a ranch south of Santa Fe, near the tiny town of Madrid. The ranch owner, Clint, is the shadow behind the camera and had just asked me to bring Clyde into the group photo — likely a mischievous ploy. Clint the cowboy started bottle-feeding the beast when he was just a few weeks old, so Clyde is uncommonly tame for a bison — though as you can see, tame is a relative term. But tame enough that my girlfriend, a full-time photographer with a degree in zoology, was able to use the burly beast in a photo shoot with her lingerie model, who easily mounted Clyde without a saddle.

There’s actually a good chance you’ve seen Clint’s ranch on the silver screen; he rents out his scenic Wild West property to many Hollywood producers. When I was storing my Airstream on his property in June, it was placed next to stables housing a number of horses used in the forthcoming Netflix feature The Harder They Fall, an all-black Western starring Idris Elba. (One of the producers is Jay-Z, who is also contributing original music to the soundtrack.) But production on the film is currently in limbo because of Covid, and Elba actually contracted the coronavirus early in the pandemic:

In a recent interview, though Elba said he never had symptoms, testing positive had a “traumatic” effect on his mental health — understandably, since most of us were freaking out about the virus’s unknown potential in early March. During the same interview, Elba was asked about the recent purge from streaming services of old shows and movies with racist themes, such as Gone with the Wind. He had a very Dish-y response:

“To mock the truth, you have to know the truth,” he said. “But to censor racist themes within a show, to pull it — wait a second, I think viewers should know that people made shows like this.” […] “I don’t believe in censorship,” he added. “I believe that we should be allowed to say what we want to say. Because, after all, we’re story-makers.”